Man's physical universe

xanabras

"BETTER THINGS" FROM PETROLEUM 699

phosphates and phosphites, and metallic soaps, are added to oils to

improve their lubricating properties.

New fuels of the order of 100 octane number are obtained by treating

butane and butylenes produced in large quantities from cracking

operations. For example, isobutylene may be polymerized with sulfuric

acid or a solid catalyst and the resulting compound hydrogenated

to produce branched octanes of high antiknock value. Copolymers of

the lower olefins are also produced in large quantities. In 1940, about

1,600,000 gallons of such polymer gasolines were made daily in the

United States, of which some 600,000 gallons had in the neighborhood

of 97 clear octane number, making them suitable for the manufacture

of high-grade aviation fuel.

An even more recent development is alkylation, which consists of

reacting a lower isoparaffin — e.g., isobutane — with lower olefins —

e.g., butylenes — in the presence of strong sulfuric acid to give just

about the theoretical amount of combination product with an octane

number in the range of 92-96 and a preponderance of material boiling

in the aviation-fuel range.

The newer airplanes in the United States, with engines having a

compression ratio of eleven to one designed for 100 octane fuel, can

lift

25 per cent more dead weight and gain 25 per cent more translational

speed than airplanes with engines designed to use 87 octane fuel.

Miles per gallon of gasoline for automobiles have not increased as

much as one would expect during the past few years because the

public has demanded higher and higher performance, i.e., more power

to provide greater accelerating capacity and hill-climbing ability.

Performance has been greatly increased during the past few years

without any loss of miles per gallon of gasoline as the result of the use

of gasolines of higher octane numbers and better volatility.

Performance

has been boosted since 1927 by an average of about 45 per cent,

while the economy of operation has increased by almost 20 per cent.

The next step in the improvement of the automobile will undoubtedly

be that of higher fuel economy made possible by an increase in

octane number. Experimental data show that an increase in octane

number from 70 to 100 would make possible automobile engines with

higher compression ratios that should result in a gain of about 28 per

cent in both economy and performance at 60 miles per hour.

In general

an altogether knock-free fuel would make it possible either to

double the mileage or to double the power, but not both at once. The

use of higher octane fuels even if they are sold at higher prices would

cost less than the use of present fuels, and at the same time a considerable

conservation of our fuel

resources would be made possible.